TITLE: Negrito Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Negrito (Little Black Man) Mask
MAKER: María Pinah Gaston, Santa María Huazolotitlán
CEREMONY: Danza de los Tejorones
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; dyed cotton string
The Danza de los Tejorones is a group dance drama performed in various towns in Oaxaca at Carnival and a few other major holidays. All dancers wear masks and elaborate costumes, and many different characters are represented, including animals, Maria Candelaria (the female Tejorón), the Negritos (little blacks), devils, Viejos (old men), and Feos (uglies).
Tiny negrito masks such as this one were worn over a handkerchief wrapped around the entire head to cover it. The effect is to give the impression of a tiny face on a large head. It is not clear why the masks are made so small.